Friday, October 21, 2011

Safe and Sound

Finally I can breathe a sigh of relief...Bango's frozen semen is safely frozen at CloneUSA in Philadelphia.

Last Thursday, Bango du Pre de Redy, a five year old Swiss Barbet male, was taken by his owner to a Clone facility in Switzerland for collection. Renate Zuber took her recently in season bitch Flora along to aid Bango with the procedure. Collection was achieved quickly and easily, and Dr Hiltbrand evaluated the semen and found the quality to be excellent. He then froze it slowly and allowed the semen to rest in the nitrogen filled container for the weekend. Monday morning, Ziegler Logistics picked up the shipping container from Orbe to truck the container to Geneva. From there, the container was flown to Frankfurt, Germany.

On Tuesday, the container was put on a cargo plane and flown to Philadelphia, PA, USA. Thursday I was contacted by the US logistics company, Pilot Freight Services. They needed me to fill out a power of attorney giving them the authority to retrieve my container from US Customs. Friday morning I emailed Pilot for an updated status on the journey through customs. As they had not heard anything by 1:30 pm, they told me that it would probably be Monday or Tuesday until the container was released from customs. This made me very nervous. Even though the nitrogen would more than likely last through the weekend, I tend to obsess over everything that could go wrong and I kept picturing damages or leaks in the tank.

Then, at 3:30 pm Friday afternoon, I received an email from Pilot stating that the shipment had been cleared and that they had a driver who could pick it up in 15 minutes from US Customs at the Philadelphia Airport. They anticipated that the 30 mile trip would put their arrival at the clinic between 4:30 pm and 6:00 pm depending on customs release and Friday Philly traffic. I called the veterinary office to confirm that someone would be there to accept the delivery. Although the vet clinic closed at 5:00 pm, they assured me that someone would wait to meet the truck. At 5:36 pm, I received a call from Angela at Clone Bucks letting me know that the shipping container had arrived in excellent condition, properly sealed and frozen, and that the semen was now safely stored in their big freezer at the vet clinic. What a relief!

When the Swiss vet had such difficulty arranging the shipment of the nitrogen-filled container, he hired the courier Ziegler Logistics to handle everything. I paid for the collection, evaluation and freezing of the dog; a new Brucellosis test; tank rental, liquid nitrogen, and shipping both directions for the container. I spent a small fortune in freight but I am truly comforted that through all of this stressful shipping, my beautiful dog has been safely lying at my feet in her own home.

I am chronicling my experience with importing frozen semen for anyone who is interested in the procedure or who may be considering it for future breedings of their own. I have learned that Switzerland is definitely not the easiest country to import semen from, but it can be done! Feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Now to wait for Claire to come in season...

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